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Bush Milks the Surge for All It's Worth

Surge. Bush. Surge. Bush. Still can't get it off my mind. Is brain surgery indicated? Surge. Bush. Surge Bush. Surge Bush. Like the pumping of a machine. A milking machine.

I previously noted that for me, the word "surge" has some weird connotations when applied to war, because I'm from the Dairy State, Wisconsin, and "Surge" was the brand name of a popular milking machine.

Maybe I'm unpatriotic, but with this history, try as I might, I still can't envision war and khaki tanks and Humvees painted in camo and camo-clad troops when George Bush and other politicians argue that America needs a surge. The closest I get to combat color fashion is the spots on a tan-and-white Guernsey dairy cow, or the desert-sands hues of Brown Swiss or Jersey dairy cows.

Sorry, Commander in Chief. Surge is cowshit, milk, sucking, teats, tails, and weaning, plus pigeon shit, flies, straw, chaff, and other barn-interior features like gutters, stalls, mice, rats, and maggots.

Then there's artificial insemination. The inseminators were called "bull-cheaters," because they came out to the farm with their vials of sperm when a cow is in heat, put on their rubber gloves, and plunged an arm far up the cow's vagina to inspect the interior before depositing genetic material extracted by professional masturbation of a distant pedigreed bull. Hence, bulls that once would have had glorious careers as studs on the farm were cheated. Not only cheated, but the baby bull calf is castrated and ignominiously sold to be raised for hamburger. Instead of a long, proud career servicing his harem, a bull paces around in a feedlot before being shipped to a slaughterhouse at age two. Or, he might have an even short life as veal

My friend Johnny's dad was an early adaptor, too early, as it turned out. He couldn't make it as an inseminator in his part of the state because too many farmers thought this sperm-trafficking business was unnatural or against the Creator's design. I'm not sure it was just the farmers, though, because Johnny's dad was a bit cantankerous--not exactly your shrewdest marketer.

Did I say "professional masturbation?” In a way, that's what's going on in Iraq, isn't it? People who make weapons and sell weapons and profit off war are pleasuring themselves mightily, but not begetting anything productive. Bush is going to ask for $481 BILLION for the next military budget. Adjusted for inflation, that's almost what we were spending in World War II, a much bigger operation. Bush wants to add more for war in Iraq and Afghanistan, which would bring the total for this year alone to $165 BILLION. That's a over 40 times more than what we spend on conventional masturbation aids, provided by the porn industry, which Forbes magazine has estimated grosses about $3.9 billion a year. Millions of Americans pay to masturbate instead of getting paid for it. It's only the select few who get paid to masturbate. But unlike the pedigree bulls, Dick Cheney and his pals don't really appear to be an improvement on the breed.

Castration and hamburger? Short life? There's plenty of that in Iraq, too, and as we well know, it’s not the weapons makers or the politicians, but ordinary people, over 3,100 snuffed out in Iraq and counting.

And how many have been wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan? Well, that depends on how you define "wounded." Up until January 10, the number was a staggering 50,508. Then, it suddenly dropped to 21,649. Was there a huge mistake in the count? Or was there some sort of miracle healing that completely erased the disabling and painful wounds? Nope. The Pentagon decided to redefine "wounded." You see, the 50,508 total included not just soldiers who actually got hit by a bullet or a car bomb combat, but those who suffered injuries in Iraq and Afghanistan. The 28,859 who were injured or went crazy are no longer counted as "wounded." So, if a Humvee flips over and crushes your legs and they get amputated, it's no longer a "wound," but, well, what? Just another workplace accident?

Obviously, the spinners at the Pentagon changed the numbers to make war look less horrid than it is, but what they've really done is insult the boys they tossed into that meat grinder in the first place, because those boys don't really make a big distinction. A missing hand or damaged brain are what they are, regardless of the cause.

A marvelous historical oddity is that a candy company, the Curtis Candy, makers of Baby Ruth, Butterfinger, and other fine products, was a pioneer in the artificial insemination world. Curtis’s founder and president, Otto Schnering, had grown up on a farm and took an interest in cattle breeding. Schnering purchased a large farm in Illinois where he could carry out improvements in the animals, and this king of the bull cheaters was right proud of his work. "Except for television," he told Time magazine in 1949, "artificial breeding is the fastest growing business in the U.S."

One of our premier local inseminators had a Curtis artificial breeding franchise. He was known as "Candy Man." That has to be one of the finest nicknames ever, um, conceived.

The greatest achievement of our bull cheaters and bovine masturbators has been to improve the cows' productivity, which has greatly increased their milk production over the years. The most productive cow in recorded history is Granny, a Holstein from Oconomowoc, Wisconsin, who set the world record for milk production on January 13, 2004, of 441,584 pounds in her long career. I never met Granny, but have a nice Six Degrees of Separation connection to her. One of my high school girl friends is married to the Wisconsin dairy farmer who owned, tended, and milked Granny for all those years.

The Candy Man and his dairy farmers--and Granny herself--are the "real," America: inventive, practical, productive, which is why I keep coming home to its barns and smart milking machines instead of wanting stray off to war and launching smart bombs. Our country is at its best when it avoids bullying other countries, and tinkers and invents and produces. That is our genius, our gift to the world. It's our economic engine, from a better milking machine to the incredible creativity of Silicon Valley. That's why Ben Franklin and Thomas Jefferson are such a fine models, with their inventions and agricultural innovations. And unlike today's narrow-minded, jingoistic, willfully ignorant, wannabe-cowboy president, they were cosmopolitans who spent a huge amount of time in Europe, learning about the rest of the world rather than shooting at it. How I wish, when today's mini-minded politicians invoke the Founding Fathers, that they had the slightest idea about who these guys really were.

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